By Allan Damba
Uganda Cranes extended their poor run of results against South Africa in a 3-2 defeat at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday in an international friendly.
Uganda matched into the encounter with an abysmal record against their opponents, the Cranes had previously suffered two losses in three matches at the hands of the Bafana Bafana.
Three second half home goals condemned Uganda to the defeat despite the relatively inexperienced Cranes team starting brightly.
It did not take too long to break the deadlock as winger Ibrahim Orit headed captain Emmanuel Okwi’s cross past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams after 17 minutes.
Not a whole lot was there to report for the rest of the half as both sides struggled for purposeful possession and clear-cut chances.
Head coach Abdallah Mubiru’s side could have stretched the lead at the stroke of halftime, but Shafik Kagimu’s powerful shot from range was kept out by Williams.
After halftime, South Africa made a couple of changes as Evidence Makgopa and Thapiso Kutumela replaced Denwan Farmer and Nkosinathi Sibisi.
Two minutes after the hour mark, Makgopa equalized with a neat strike past goalkeeper Ismail Watenga who was making his first Cranes start in six years.
Five minutes later, the Bafana Bafana doubled their lead through Maritzburg United’s forward Bongokhule Hlongwane’a goal.
Uganda paid for their poor defending and lack of cohesion as the home team capped off a scintillating second half with a third goal through Makgopa’a second of the night with eight to play.
In the 89th minute, Abdu Lumala grabbed a consolation but it was too little too late as Uganda’s nightmares pushed on.
The loss condemns Uganda to a tough beginning to what should be a new era as they look at rebuilding after failing to make it to the 2022 AFCON finals slated for Cameroon.
How they lined up
South Africa: Ronwen Williams(GK), Innocent Maela, Rushine De Reuck, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Sbusiso Mabiliso, Denwan Farmer, Ethan Duncan Brooks, Lebohang Kgosana Maboe, Craig Martin, Sphelele Mkhulise, Bongokhule Hlongwane
Subs: Njabulo Blom, Bruce Bvuma, Thabiso Kutumela, Evidence Makgopa, Aubrey Modiba, Njabulo Ngcobo
Uganda Cranes: Ismael Watenga (GK), Paul Willa, Halid Lwalilwa, Murushid Juuko, Mustafa Kizza, Taddeo Lwanga, Shafik Kagimu, Moses Waiswa, Allan Okello (Abdu Lumala), Ibrahim Orit (Isma Mugulusi), Emmanuel Okwi(C) (Steven Mukwaala).
Subs: Charles Lukwago (GK), Aziz Kayondo, Muhamood Hassan, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Enock Walusimbi, Steven Sserwadda Mathias Kigonya (GK), Patrick Paul Mbowa.